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so this is what hell feels like.

first of all, i'd like to apologize for being absent from the blogging world for a few days. there has been a LOT going on in the regular world and the truth is that all of my energy has gone into trying to keep myself afloat. this picture of the temperature was taken monday afternoon. in my last blog (which was written at the end of last weekend), the hot temperatures that my mom and i had encountered were mild compared to what was about to hit los angeles. i'm from the south so i'm used to warmer weather. i was even used to humidity so intense that you could barely walk outside thanks to the insanely hot summer the carolinas experienced. BUT despite all of that ridiculous weather, i always had a cold house to walk back into. not only did the heat in los angeles this past week set a RECORD for the hottest day ever calculated in this city's history, but it had effects on me that i had never expected. when i found out that my apartment wasn't air conditioned, i wasn't too worried seeing that los angeles is generally 75 degrees year round, and usually in the 60's after the sun sets. i was not prepared in ANY way for what was coming. let me give you the basic idea of the past week's conditions of my second story, non-air conditioned heat trap of an apartment:

my harwood floors, countertops, and rug in the center of the living room were all hot to the touch; my liquid soap by the sink felt as if it had been microwaved; my granola bars in the cabinet and deoderant in the bathroom were both melted; and my clothes all felt as if they had just come out of the dryer.

so if those were all non-living, non-breathing objects, you can only imagine how it must have felt for me to be in there attempting to sleep, shower, or really do anything at all. the fans only blew the hot air around, so when i saw that the temperatures for the rest of the week were going to be just as unbearable, part of me broke down a little bit.

the truth? i was pissed. i had been in this apartment for less than a week and finally got myself settled and comfortable. sara reminded me that this was a great opportunity to explore the city--and she was right--but the idea of having to avoid my apartment, a place where i would eventually have to come back to sleep at the end of the day, was something that i couldn't stop thinking about. so, the day of the infamous 115 record heat, started very early for me because i spent the entire night tossing and turning in the heat--only to get up at 5:30 AM and take a cold shower and a sleeping pill which knocked me out until 9:30. after a lot of sweating, a quick breakfast, more sweating, a shower, and then more sweating, i grabbed my things and got the f**k out of there. i guess because my body temperature had been way above normal for the past two days, going out into the brutal heat was not the best idea. after driving around for ten minutes, i pulled onto a side street and knew that i immediately needed to find a glass of ice water and an air conditioned place to cool down and gather myself. i took a hard right off of hollywood blvd and found myself on a street of parking meters. as i scrambled through my wallet, i looked up and realized i was steps away from a place called cafe audrey.

little did i know i had stepped into a very cool place that was not only dedicated entirely to audrey hepburn but...


the rest of that day led me to a few more air conditioned places like the coffee commissary where i discovered the greatest iced tea i've ever had (lavender earl grey iced tea) and some delicious housemade granola and yogurt.

after a few more errands, i decided that it was finally time to satisfy my mexican craving. there was only one place i could think of (thank you chelsea handler) and that....was baja fresh. the events that happened after bringing home my baja fresh, i will try to keep as minimal as possible because even though i told you i'd bring you along for the ride, i don't want to relive these things over again. first and foremost, my meal:

the spicy chicken tacos and chips with queso fundido (baja fresh's version of cheese dip) were delicious and definitely comparable to somewhere like moe's (for those of you from the southeast coast). however, when i returned to my apartment that night after the 115 degree weather, it was almost impossible to eat. you know the expression "in hot water"--which means in trouble-- well i was exactly that...except in cold water:

not only was i eating with my feet in a bowl of ice cold water, i was splashing water on myself from another bowl next to the couch. at the time my mom called, my head was under the faucet of my kitchen sink and i was covered head to toe in water and sweat. after a very long conversation with sara who reminded me that "heat is not something you can just suck it up and deal with" and a conversation with my mom who told me "if you don't book yourself a hotel right now, i'm calling dad AND booking you a hotel myself", i checked into a best western where i slept with the air conditioner on 60 degrees the entire night.

the next day, after thinking that my struggles with the heat had hit their worst point, i found myself facedown on a table in another cafe with the owner running to get me juice and ice packs. the heat combined with my blood sugar completely bottoming out resulted in a very scary experience. luckily, the cafe where this took place was a family owned shop (one of the ONLY in the area) and the mom took care of me as if i were her own daughter. scary? absolutely. i spent the next few hours there recovering and looking up portable air conditioner units. which led me to this...

and then this...

and then this...

which of course resulted in this.

although i spent hour after hour after HOUR putting this thing together with my own two hands, a thank you is required to my best friend who stayed on the phone with me the entire time listening to me talk to myself and scream out long strings of profanity. sara, i apologize that you were brought to the point of saying, "fanny, you're scaring me", but thank you for being there with me through all of the bad language and frustration i dealt with that night. i know you would have been right there screaming at the manual and scotch taping things together with me if you could have. at the present moment, a massive amount of duct tape is holding together this odd contraption known as a portable air conditioner, but the road which led me to that solution included macgyvering the machine together with scotch tape, socks, and a curtain.

let's just say you have to be pretty crafty to live by yourself.

other than a few mishaps around the apartment where i've found myself playing mechanic (what did we do without duct tape?), the completely unattractive air conditioner, the fan in the window, and one on the ground have finally started to bring a cool breeze into my little home. least from 9 PM to 9 AM. speaking of my little home, here are a few things you haven't seen yet:

i'm not allowed to hang anything where things weren't already hung, so the display in the middle is called a wall pop (it's meant to peel on and off of wallpaper with no damange. the pictures here are hung by sticky removable hooks, which do NOT hold up to three pounds as they claim to, and as we currently speak, both of these pictures have already fallen down (for the eighth time). today i will be investing in painter's tape.

another wall pop. i really needed some peace in here.

a letter that sara wrote to me right before i left telling me that i was meant to be here but also reminding me how much she misses me.

i would LOVE to have an actual raleigh street sign hanging above this doorway, but i settled for a picture of one that i took a few years ago. the picture says "a house is made of walls and beams, a home is built with love and dreams" so true <3

so now that the temperature in here is slightly less mild and my body is starting to feel somewhat back to normal, i wanted to update you on this past week. the truth is that i feel like someone has been testing me. once this heat wave came, it was one thing after the next. aside from dealing with the constant sauna-like weather, my shower curtain fell, my bathroom has flooded every time i've taken a shower, i burnt my finger on a crappy lean cuisine french bread pizza (which you can actually see in the picture of my middle finger..), i've dropped an entire bottle of my miscellaneous vitamins on the side of a busy street, i almost passed out in a sandwich shop, and i bought a DVD player and three movies and then realized that i don't have any hook ups on my TV for any sort of movie-playing device.

in short. FML.

HOWEVER (there's always a however), i've learned a few lessons out of all of this. the night that i finally broke down and stayed at a best western, i realized that there are some situations where you can't try to act tough and just suck it up. heat exhaustion is a VERY serious thing and when you're the type of person who already has blood sugar issues, you need to take every precaution to take care of yourself first. the irony of this entire blog is that my previous rambling before this, was all about laughing at life's little mishaps. i've learned in the past few days that "not everything is a funny blog" (thank you sara). sometimes, it's okay to be pissed off and say to yourself "this SUCKS." i've done a lot of that the past few days and every time the shower rod has fallen on my head or one of my pictures has gone crashing to the ground or the duct tape on my air conditioner has come undone, as much as i've tried to laugh it off, sometimes the f-bombs just come flying out. you can't go through life cursing at every bad thing that happens, but when you're the type of person who is known for always radiating positivity and being in a great mood, you need the world to know that sometimes, you just need to break down.

from the second the VERY first cool blast of air i had ever felt in the apartment came through one of my fans, it was almost as if there was a tiny break in the clouds telling me that things were going to be okay. although i was dealing with impossible parking and dragging suitcases and grocery bags across the street and up the stairs by myself, my first few days here felt as if they were going really well. honestly, part of me was waiting for the bottom to fall out. now, i realize that much worse things could have happened, but i do feel like the past few days have given me a taste of my first real life experiences of living on my own.

the day that i brought wilbur home from the vet and realized the severity of his sickness and that he wouldn't be coming with me, i felt that from that point on, i've taken a lot of blows. when something bad happens, my mom always tells me that instead of looking at it as a crappy situation, think of it as the universe's way of giving you an opportunity to change. change how you react to it, change unhealthy patterns, change your perspective so that you learn from the experience. especially in this past week, i've been forced to do just that. so, after all of the sweat, all of the profanity, and all of the broken appliances, i have realized this: things are going to suck sometimes. you are going to feel broken. you're going to feel tested. you're going to scream at objects that can't yell back at you. and you're going to cry. and that's okay. as long as eventually, you can tape yourself back together and move on.


holy sh....

so, i know a lot of you are wondering what's been going on since the big move a few days ago. where have i been, what have i eaten, which celebrities have i seen? well the answers are: target, chicken flavored ramen, and myself in the mirror. although, while i was at the west hollywood trader joes two nights ago it occured to me that i should have swung by lindsay lohan's nearby condo to wish her good luck on her trial. i don't think it would have made a big difference..

as for everything else, things are going well so far! let's start from the beginning. i hopped off the plane at LAX with a dream and my cardigan...
oh wait, that was miley cyrus. i got off the plane in my peace college longsleeve and was greeted by one of the most wonderful sights. and her name is ebony.

okay this isn't what she looked like when i walked out of LAX, but it was the only picture i had. a friend of my sister's had picked her up when she arrived in LA about two weeks ago and that was my ride home from the airport :) that car is a part of me, and to be back in it again felt like having a friend from raleigh by my side in this scary new place. i once heard (in an adam sandler movie) that magic sunglasses can make you invisible when you're scared. sadly, my favorite pair of sunglasses had recently broken, but when i got in the car and opened the center console. to my surprise...

ebony must have known all along! after dropping my sister's friend off, i realized that it was the very first time i was all by myself in this big town. it was exciting. it was scary. and it was slightly awkward because of course i didn't realize until AFTER i called sara that you're not allowed to be on the phone while driving in california so i spent a good portion of the ride home covering the phone up with my hair. i made my way back to my neighborhood, picked up some groceries, drove up and down my street for a year and a half looking for a parking spot, and then spent about forty minutes dragging these items (all individually, and all by myself) across the street, through the gate, and up the stairs: one 50 lb. suitcase, another 50 lb suitcase, nine bags of groceries, three trashbags full of clothes, seven things to hang on the wall, a TV, two turtle doves...

you get the picture. speaking of pictures...

the funny thing is, i feel like i've gone through SO many cliche situations of somebody who is living by themselves for the first time. it feels like i should have a camera crew following me around. on the plus side, all of these slightly unfortunate situations have all taught me important lessons. after my first trip to the west hollywood target--which is a blog in itself--i brought home a brita faucet attachment so that i wouldn't have to carry bottled water across the street and up the stairs every week. as i began trying the different attachments that "fit most sinks", i realized that my sink apparently was not "most sinks." my dad has always taught me to read the instructions, so i flipped open the pamphlet and read: YOU MAY NOT NEED ATTACHMENT FOR FILTRATION SYSTEM TO CONNECT TO FAUCET. after tossing the faulty attachments aside and thinking to myself "why didn't i just read the instruction manual!", i forced the filtration system around my faucet. even though it wasn't connected in any way, i assumed that filtered water would still come out if i held it in place. as i awkwardly leaned over the sink (pushing the brita up against the bottom of my sad little faucet), i slipped on hand around the sink and turned the knob. not only did water come spraying at me from all different directions, it shot me directly in the eye, and then flew over my head putting the flame out of my brand new lavender candle. lesson number one: never read the instruction manual.

speaking of candles...

another interesting lesson i've learned about living by yourself has to do with wax, hardwood floors, and plastic cutlery. as i sat at the desk in my apartment yesterday morning--blogging and chatting with sara about deep dish pizza--i was enjoying the smells of my brand new candles. i couldn't find a lavender vanilla candle so i was forced to buy one small tahitian vanilla candle that came in a glass jar, and one lavender candle that looks exactly like the one pictured above. for some odd reason when i lit my candles a few hours before, it didn't occur to me what would happen as time passed and the candles started to melt. it didn't occur to me until the moment i heard the "drip. drip. dripdripdrip. dripdripdripdripdrip..." coming from the kitchen. not wanting to interrupt sara mid-story, i let out a silent f-bomb and leapt across the room to stop the wax statue that was forming alongside of the counter. and the hardwood floor. having only dripped candle wax on carpet before, i must admit i was pretty unsure about what to do. after picking at it for a while, i fumbled through a drawer and found a plastic knife. i spent the next forty five minutes scooting thick purple wax off of the floor with a tool that had most likely come from a drive thru. lesson number two: plates should be used under candles and knifes should be used for spreading peanut butter.

you know how sometimes you turn the water on to get in the shower, and then you realize you have a few other things to do first? lesson number three: unless you are building an ark, you most likely want to keep the water INSIDE the shower.

as for everything else, things seem to be falling into place one step at a time. on my second day, the cable was hooked up--and just in time too because tyler florence was making roast chicken. it only took one day of quiet for me to realize that having food network on in the background 24/7 is one of my biggest comforts.

even though it took me about three days to find jersey sheets that i didn't hate, i got my bed all set up :) i tried to make it as close to home as possible..

although i got a few more things to add to my walls today, i took some pictures earlier of my first attempts at fanny-ing the place up. the apartment itself is very quaint--nothing fancy...THIS is fancy...

...but it's starting to feel a little more like home every day.

the fridge is full of cards from the people i love most (mostly inspirational cards about moving, but some are birthday cards i just love to reread). i spend most of my time near the fridge anyway, so i figured it was a good place to have encouraging words. there are more things to hang and more pictures to take tomorrow, this was just a sneak preview. other exciting things that have happened so far...

my first dinner in my new apartment! also known as "the first supper." you really can't go wrong with pizza and beer.

my first jamba juice! definitely a winner, it reminded me a lot of smoothie king. i spent fifteen minutes looking at the menu and informed the girl that it was my first time. she then raised her eyebrows at me and responded with "REALLY?!"

i wanted her to ask her if she had ever had a cajun filet biscuit combo from bojangles before.

my first trip to birds, which is a very popular local hangout spot in franklin village. i went for the cajun grilled caesar wrap, sweet potato fries, baked mac and cheese, and buttermilk ranch and buffalo sauce for dipping. everything was great, but the sweet potato waffle fries and the ranch were the highlight of the meal.

first trip to the oaks gourmet market where my mom treated herself to the lobster club. best decision of the day. not only was the guy behind the counter extremely helpful and patient as my mom asked about almost every item on the menu, but his brother lived in charlotte. small world right? thank goodness for southern hospitality because we were treated to these...

if someone stopped me on hollywood blvd and offered me a s'muffin i'd most likely slap them in the face. so it's a good thing the man offering my mom and i free s'muffins was standing in front of a deli case. YUM.

so all in all, things have started off well! the only bad news to report is the raging 95 degree weather that decided to follow me from north carolina. had i been an eskimo, or decided to go for an apartment that actually HAS airconditioning, these circumstances might not be as brutal. but that's what these are for..

so far this is my biggest fan.

tomorrow, my mom and i go to look at a potential new living space for when my two months on beachwood drive is up. it's a brand new guest house and it's located near west hollywood in a place called miracle mile. not a bad location name for a town where 923,239 are trying to do the EXACT same thing as you. i'll keep you posted on all of my upcoming adventures, and thank you for laughing along with me at all of my mishaps. i've learned that life isn't always going to go smoothly, and the only thing you can do is laugh outloud at yourself. when an inch of water floods your bathroom, grab a snorkel. it's like that old expression: when life gives you lemons, drink coors light. you may end up with wet socks or tap water in your eye, but at least you'll have a good story to tell and advice to share with somebody else.

i've also found that when things aren't going perfectly, it's somewhat of a comfort because the truth is that everybody goes through days life that. the imperfections are what make life so hilarious, and sharing those ridiculous moments remind us that we've all been there--so it's like we're all in it together. even if we're by ourselves two thousand miles away in an apartment that feels like africa and smells like bath and body works. so i encourage all of you not just to laugh at yourself when something goes wrong--but share it, turn it into a funny story. as i dug through my glove compartment looking for napkins today, i stumbled upon these very suitable words of wisdom that my dad wrote to me many years ago.

moral of the story: shit happens.


three years ago on this very day, these words were spoken to me by someone i had never met. when you reach out to somebody who is a complete stranger, there is a very good chance their response will either be non-existent or very limited. not only was the reaction i got full of kindness and compassion, but it was five words that forever changed my life.

first and foremost, what you're about to read is inspired by an unbelievable post that my best friend wrote and dedicated to me this morning. it literally left me speechless--which as you probably have figured out by now, is extremely rare for me. after i blinked the happy tears away that filled my eyes as i read her post, i suddenly looked up at the date on the iHome sitting on the desk in front of me. september 24th. something seemed oddly familiar about that date. i logged onto facebook, went to my inbox, and typed in the words "soul mate" under search.

and there it was. exactly three years ago on this very day:

september 24th, 2007 at 7:22 PM
"hey girl...we have a couple mutual friends on facebook and i kinda stumbled onto your i was looking at the blog page and i read the stuff that you wrote. you're REALLY talented sara. i've actually been dating a guy for a little over 5 years and we (well...he) decided that it was best to take a break right now. i think he just needs some time to figure out himself and the idea of 5 years was really scary for him. it's just a break (hence the "in a relationship" part on my profile) and we're still talking everyday, but reading some of the stuff you wrote about breakups and relationships in general was really inspiring:) i also laughed out loud when you said "my cats are my best friends" because my cat was sitting on me as i was laying there reading it. ...which obviously scared him and he jumped off haha. i just wanted you to know that your writing is definitely appreciated. i literally felt like i was reading a really really good book. i love to write and i have tons of journals filled with lyrics, random thoughts, and letters that aren't meant to be sent. it's really courageous of you to have that stuff out there for the world. i know i already used to this word...but its seriously inspiring. my best friend, a guy whose been like a brother to me for about ten years was adopted too, so i definitely connected with that part when i read it. that's awesome that you're so close with your family. it sounds like you've been through a lot, and i know i don't actually know you, but i can tell that you're an unbelievably strong person. anyway, i know this is really random...but i felt like i could tell, just through your words, that you're a really genuine person and i had this feeling like it was important to tell you that. i hope you keep writing girl:)"
as you have probably already figured out, the quote at the top of this post is the first thing that sara ever "spoke" (wrote) back to me. of all of the days for sara to write a tribute to me and our friendship, she--without having any idea that today was exactly three years since we met--chose this morning to write that. but that's the way our friendship has worked since day one, not by coincidences, but through destiny.

this is it. the first place we ever became "sara and fanny." i know you're wondering when i took this picture. it was about a month ago when i was driving near peace college. i knew it might be a while before i found a good use for it, but at the time something inside of me told me to take it right then and there. sara is absolutely right, from the minute we sat down at that outside table, we instantly became best friends. in my (almost) 25 years, i have lived for 9,093 days and the day that i met sara mclamb, is one that i will never forget. i remember the smile that spread across her face the first time she looked up from her phone and saw me. i remember when she propped her feet up on the chair next to her and the bottom of her ripped jeans slid up a little to reveal those faded little moccasins with the stars on them. for the life of me, i can't tell you what i had for dinner last week, but i CAN tell you that sara was wearing white socks under those goofy beat up shoes and at that very moment, my life was never the same again.

different day. same ripped jeans. same socks.

another day (out of my 9,093) that i will always remember is one that took place in a room very close to my heart (and the heart of every girl that went to peace college). the computer lab. mental picture: it was just another ordinary sunny october day in raleigh, and i sat in the computer lab with my new best friend. in my dark navy peace college hoodie, my feet were lazily hoisted up on the desk (as they often were) and i was doing my first myspace survey. sara sat next to me, squinting and holding her face about two inches from the computer screen, and called out one-bedroom craigslist ads to me. the semester was coming to a close and it was her first opportunity to live off campus. after an hour of rattling off different street names and apartment buildings, she casually--almost as if thinking outloud--mentioned the idea of finding a roommate.

"what if i was your roommate?"

sara's fingers stopped typing and without looking over at me, she smiled to herself and said "yeah right. i'd like to see the day you move out of your parents house." here's the funny thing about sara and me. of course our friendship has grown and changed in many different ways over the past three years, but in the first three weeks of knowing each other, we already knew every detail, every story, and every little piece of each other's lives. she knew me well enough to know that not for a second, had i ever considered moving out of my parents house anytime soon. i hate change, and i had never lived anywhere but home in twenty two years.

"no seriously. let's do it."

thirty minutes later, we had a two bedroom house in downtown raleigh with a wrap around porch, rocking chairs, and a puggle named butter. okay, that didn't really happen; but once sara saw the serious look on my face, we immediately began planning our future as roommates. i knew that one day i would have to move out of my parents house, and i realized that the only person in the world i wanted by my side when i made that transition was sitting right next to me.

through our two years of living together, we went through a total of 4 moving days, 2 leases, 7 pets (if you count all the goldfish), 148 totinos pizzas, 493 asian restaurants, 529 nights of staying up late talking for no reason, 147 naps on the floor, 319 pots of spaghetti, 14,430 hours of laughter, 28 hours of tears, 92 cases of coors light, 38 house parties (39 if you count the toga party where nobody showed up), 2 graduations, and 302 slumber parties where we shared a bed and a disney VHS after a scary movie.

before sara and i ever moved in together, i remember talking to her over the computer one night about how lucky we were to have found each other. even though it was the very beginning of our friendship, this thought struck me: "i know that we won't always live ten minutes down the road from each other." now if you know sara, you know that her immediate response before i even finished my thought was "i don't want to talk about it!" a few weeks later, we lived ten steps from each other, two years later, we lived two hours and forty five minutes from each other, and now (if you've read sara's blog you'll know that she did the math) we are 2,588 miles apart. i'm not going to lie, at the end of our daytrip to wilmington where we said our first goodbye and exchange going away presents, it was possibly the hardest moment of my life.

little did i know, i would return to raleigh two weeks earlier than expected and get to see sara twice before making my journey out to california. when the rumors of my move began to spread around to our family and friends, the two of us were repeatedly faced with one question: "what are you guys going to do without each other?!" yes, we would physically be further apart than we ever had been before, but "when you have a friendship like ours, you can survive anything." i read an amazing quote the other day that i will never forget:

"we are not human beings having a spiritual experience. we are spiritual beings have a human experience." ~teilhard de chardin

through one click of a facebook message, i found my soulmate. i believe that soulmates come in all different forms, but the basic idea is that they are someone you not only know in this lifetime, but are connected with on a soul level and have known in many other shapes and forms. that is exactly why the concept of distance doesn't exist between sara and i. she was right to say that when we need each other now, the reality is that we have to fill up our piggy banks and set a date, but in all truth, there is nothing that could ever stop me from getting to her. i realize that it's unrealistic to hop on a plane every time sara is crying on the other end of the phone, but if we really needed to get to each other, there is nothing--not money, not time, not distance, not jobs--NOTHING that could stop me from making my way back to her. if i woke up tomorrow morning in outer space, i would crawl to little river if i had to. three years ago, i made a promise to her that i would never leave her; and i plan to keep that promise.

as for now, i'm counting down the days until sara hops on that plane and i get to see that smiling face in person again (31 days to be exact). aside from there being a few more states in between us, nothing has changed. she's the first person i want to tell when a good movie comes on TV. picture (and sound) messages of her cats pop up on my phone at least twice a day. and we spend hour after hour after hour on the phone, half of the time just going about our days and occasionally asking the other one what movie they're watching or what they're eating. sara is naturally that kind of person. the one you want to be around constantly, the one you want to tell your secrets to, and the one whose stories you could hear over and over again. her laugh is contagious, and there's something about her sarcastic nature that is so hilarious, it almost makes you want to ask stupid questions just to hear her response. she is one of the strongest, move brave people i've ever met; but occasionally you'll still hear her yell "mama hold me!" not only is she driven, but she is one of the only people i know who ACTUALLY makes a change when she says she's going to. as ironic as it is, she was one of the driving forces behind helping make my dreams of moving to california come true. she's my backbone. she commends me for being such a positive person, and the truth is that a lot of the time, she's the one who brings it out in me. so today, on this day that just happens to mark three years since we've changed each other's lives, this one is for you. for my best friend, my better half, my soulmate. i am with you every day.

i love you to california and back.